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Quickly jotting down something that has caught your eye or that you definitely don’t want to forget: Notebooks, bullet journals and diaries help to capture something of all the fleeting things that otherwise threaten to disappear in the darkness of the lived moment. Especially since such analogue notebooks are quicker to hand and easier to use than their electronic imitators. For this reason alone, the notational aids filled bit by bit with experiences, observations and all kinds of memos take on an important function as a structuring medium in the lives of many people. Diaries can also become documents of time – if they are written by writers or artists, even works of art.

The Klingspor Museum in Offenbach am Main has impressive examples in its collection. They range from works by the conceptual artist Dieter Roth to Barbara Fahrner’s record from New York during the Islamist terrorist attack in September 2001 to the contemporary “Lockdown Diary” by Malte Spindler. A special treasure are the “Sketchbooks” by Paul Stein, a mixture of diary, sketchbook and literary notes.

The exhibition “Attention: contains life.Notebook, Bullet Journal, Diary”, created in cooperation with “nuuna by brandbook” and students of the Justus Liebig University Giessen, asks for motives and approaches to fill a blank book. It runs from 15 July to 29 October, explores motifs and approaches to filling an empty book. Numerous people have responded to the museum’s call and made their own works available. Interviews with diarists also provide information about individual motives and working methods. And because the design of even an empty book has an influence on the writing process, this is also a theme. In addition, a diverse accompanying programme will provide a look behind the scenes and invite visitors to express their own creativity. There will also be a virtual exhibition space on Instagram.

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